Quality Indicators for Prevention and Management of Pressure Ulcers in Vulnerable Elders

by Barbara M. Bates-Jensen

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Pressure ulcers can lead to pain, disfigurement, and slow recovery from comorbid conditions. They interfere with activities of daily living, predispose to osteomyelitis and septicemia, and are strongly associated with longer hospital stays and mortality. Frailty and chronic illness, both common among older adults, predispose to pressure ulcers. The prevalence of pressure ulcers is 10% to 14% among hospitalized patients of all ages and up to 24% among patients in nursing homes. One goal of Healthy People 2010 is to reduce the prevalence of pressure ulcers in nursing home patients by 50%. Prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers are an important aspect of care for vulnerable elders. This paper presents quality indicators for the prevention and care of pressure ulcers among vulnerable elders and the evidence supporting these indicators.

Originally published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v.135, no. 8, pt. 2, October 16, 2001, pp. 744-751.

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